Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Cleveland Appeals Court upholds student's suspension

The Eight District Court of Appeals in Cleveland, Ohio recently upheld the suspension of two students who were suspended for allegedly fighting in Buckosh v. Westlake City Schools, 2009-Ohio-1093.

The student challenged the decision of the court of common pleas upholding the decision of the school board to suspend them. She made a few arguments to the appellate court, among them that her constitutional rights and statutory rights under R.C. 3319.66 to notice had been violated, that the trial court was wrong for not allowing her to argue self-defense and that the trial court was wrong in not giving her an opportunity to present more evidence.

The appellate court found that because, in its opinion, (1) the student had been provided with written notice of the charges against her, (2) the school district provide the reasons it was was suspending her, (3) the student had an opportunity to explain her actions, neither the U.S. Constitution or the Revised Code had been violated.

Additionally, the appeals court found that the student's rights to substantive due process were not violated when a student is denied an opportunity to present an affirmative defense of self-defense in a school suspension hearing.

Finally, because the student was unable to show that the result would have been any different if more evidence was brought before the trial court, the court of appeals upheld her suspension.

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